Paros - Naoussa, Greece
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The Environmental & Cultural Park of Paros, at Agios Yiannis Detis in the bay of Naoussa was established in 2009 in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The park covers an area of over 8.000 square meters including several beaches, an area of rocky headland criss-crossed with a network of footpaths, the picturesque lighthouse at Cape Korakas (dating from 1870), the monastery of Agios Yiannis Detis (built in the 16th century or even earlier), a modern ship yard and in the recreational area – a vast open air theatre which throughout the summer holds a number of cultural and environmentally themed events.
The area of The Park is of great geologic and historic significance for Paros and the Cyclades, and in fact of the whole Greece! It is an area inhabited since the prehistoric period (2500 BC), at the geometric period (1100-800 BC) and used by the pirates in the 16th cent. During the Russo-Ottoman war of 1768 -1774 it was used as a naval base by the Russian Admiralty. Around this time the patron saint of the monastery was thought to cure the malaria epidemic spread in Naoussa; however, the monastery was abandoned early in the 19th century remaining unoccupied until 1964 when Dutch artist Gizella D’aily moved in and renovated the entire building before being forcibly evicted in 1982.
The whole Park peninsula is offered for walking explorations, with various signaled hiking routes throughout – a total of 7km, passing from sites of amazing granite formations, open views to the Aegean and the sunset, various isolated beaches and historical landmarks. Cyclists may find various downhill off-road routes for mountain bikes, and starting at the Park, you can easily bike along quiet countryside roads that bring all the way to Parikia port!
Various cultural events held at the Park, like the annual Music Festival, are held over the summer until early October, with concerts, theatrical plays and art exhibitions by Greek and international artists. The Park also plays host to the annual Paros Triathlon, attracting athletes from all over the world. The award-winning Water Ski club located at the main beach, offers rentals & lessons in the summer. Other sports events and special activities for children are often organized on the premises.
An innovate project for the Cyclades, or indeed any of the Greek islands, The Park is a volunteer based project which invites visitors all year round to enjoy the natural splendour of this magical part of Paros.
Oh, and the main beach (Catholiko), is pretty amazing too.
• Visit: www.parospark.org